The former Secretary of State agrees with drug interventionists nationwide on the problem of addiction and outlines ways to combat the epidemic.
On Wednesday, September 2nd, Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton proposed a state & federal initiative to spend nearly $10 billion treating Americans who suffer from addiction. In her op-ed featured in the Manchester Union Leader, the former Secretary of State stated that “for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands. Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing — and we must treat it as such.”
Ms. Clinton’s statement is music to the ears of interventionists nationwide. We have seen firsthand the devastating effects of addiction. Here are some key statistics:
- In the United States, 6.6% of persons aged 12 or older (an estimated 17.3 million individuals) in 2013 were dependent on or abused alcohol.
- 6% of Americans aged 12 and older (an estimated 6.3 million people) were addicted to illicit drugs. (SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2013.)
- The effects of drug abuse cost an estimated $700 billion in national healthcare costs (National Drug Intelligence Center. The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society. Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, 2011).
- *According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, drugged driving has surpassed drunk driving as the dominant factor in fatal car crashes (prescription or illegal drugs were a factor in 43% of fatal car crashes). (*Resource – Columbus Recovery Center)
- Alcohol impaired driving accounts for 31% of all driving-related deaths in the United States
- The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion.
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(Interventionists nationwide agree with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s assessment on addiction.)
What seems like such a small percentage of the national population actually has a dramatic effect on our society. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 48% of all inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses and nearly 40% use drugs. Of individuals arrested for all types of crime, 60% are found to be under the influence of drugs. As many broken families also know, those suffering with addiction often engage in sociopathic behavior and are liable to lie, cheat, and steal from those even closest to them.
Many people find the notion that addiction is a disease offensive but scientific research and anecdotal experience present a different point of view. With the increased use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) among behavioral researchers are now able to see differences in individual brain activity and blood flow. With people engaged in chronic or habitual drug or alcohol usage, fMRI scans consistently show that dopamine transporters (neural pathways which regulate response to pleasure) are overused and weakened in functionality. The weakened dopamine transporters gradually deteriorate the limbic system (the part of the brain which controls decision-making) entrapping individuals in destructive behavioral cycles. As interventionists, many of our clients possess higher levels of charisma and natural intelligence yet after having been addicted to illicit drugs for several years, the quality of their decisions reliably decrease over time. Though these clients seem to lose everything of value to them, they often state that they feel powerless to change their behavior.
The initial decision to use alcohol or illicit drugs for the first time is unequivocally a choice, but habitual usage is clearly not. Interventionists around the world have seen that those with addictions include members of society from all ethnic and educational backgrounds—from wealthy bankers to working class men and women. Many of those suffering with addiction may be earnest in their desire to break their habits but they often fail to recognize the cycle of their symptoms nor are equipped with the proper emotional, social, and/or pharmaceutical tools to change their lives for the better. Addicted individuals are aware that their behavior can lead to death or adverse health consequences but they continue repeating destructive behaviors much to the dismay of family and friends. Conventional wisdom and society often assumes the addicted can simply break their habits using willpower alone. When they do not live up to societal expectations, the result often leads to a phenomenon of labeling, stigmatization, and ostracization which leaves individuals feeling more ashamed, alone, and without hope.
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(Access to quality treatment centers must be improved and enrollment must be tailored to individual needs.)
When it comes to addiction treatment, reliable methods have been a known option for many years. Rehabilitation treatment centers are available across the country for those who want to take the first step in breaking free. Rehab is not a silver-bullet and it often takes a broad coalition of support, commitment, & resources to recover completely. As interventionists, we feel that former Secretary Clinton is correct in stating that the level of access to treatment should be increased nationwide. It is crucial that those suffering from addiction be presented with a clear assessment of their negative behavior and be given access to treatment resources. Not all treatment centers are the same and it is imperative that the treatment center matches the particular needs of the addicted individual.
Universal Crisis Intervention (U.C.I.) believes that freedom from addiction is possible for every individual. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, we are here to help. We conduct professional, intense and life-changing drug interventions to match those suffering with addiction to a treatment center best for them. Recovery from addiction can be a long journey, but we a U.C.I. can get individuals off the path of destruction and on the road to new life.
Call 1-888-975-7283 today or visit our website at www.extremeintervention.com.